- Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams need to consider trading for New York Giants tight Evan Engram
- Engram, a Pro Bowl selection in 2020, is in the final year of his contract
- The Rams could always use more vertical receiving threats
Life is good for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. He’s slinging touchdowns on a team that, at 6-1, appears destined to reach the postseason and give the veteran quarterback a chance at finally winning a playoff game.
How can life get any better, you ask? As the trade deadline rapidly approaches, it’s time for Stafford to use his starting quarterback leverage abilities and push the Rams to make a significant offensive acquisition.
Matthew Stafford needs to convince the Rams to acquire New York Giants tight end Evan Engram
Stafford has no shortage of weapons in Los Angeles. He’s turned Cooper Kupp into one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers and has Robert Woods apace for his third 1,000-yard season in the last four years.
Still, the rich can always afford to get richer. In fact, in an attempt to take that train of thought literally, the Rams reportedly added $3 million in cap room after restructuring offensive tackle Rob Havenstein’s contract. Don’t be surprised to see the Rams restructure another contract here and there if it means creating space for the perfect deal.
Acquiring New York Giants tight end Evan Engram falls more on the “risky” side of things than a “perfect” or “ideal” deal. The 2020 Pro Bowl selection is making $6 million in the final year of his contract and is likely nearing the end of his time in New York.
As of publication, the Giants had not publicly announced they intend to part ways with Engram in the coming days. The 27-year-old, who has 20 catches for 171 yards in five games this season, recently told reporters he is ignoring trade rumors and will not “tap out” amid the team’s 2-5 start.
Engram makes perfect sense as a rotational rental piece
Thankfully for Stafford, the Rams aren’t in a situation where they desperately need another vertical threat. However, the team did recently place tight end Johnny Mundt, a backup who also sees significant special teams action, on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Does Mundt’s injury open up a legitimate for Engram? That’s up to the Rams, who refuse to make second-year tight end Brycen Hopkins an active player on game day. The Purdue product has been a healthy scratch all season.
Engram would, in theory, be a perfect rotational fit who can split snaps with Tyler Higbee, the sixth-year tight end who has started 69 of the Rams’ last 72 regular-season games. The Rams can give Higbee a break on some downs and send Engram in on passing plays.
It’s worth noting Engram has a history of drops, including 11 last year on 109 targets. His tendency to not hang onto balls makes this hypothetical trade far riskier than it might appear when one solely looks at receiving yards. However, the Ole Miss product only dropped a single pass on his first 29 targets this season, so he’s at least making progress.
As the Giants prepare to possibly embark on yet another rebuild, they’ll need all of the draft capital possible. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, the Rams can get Engram for a 2022 fifth-round pick. That’s more than worth the price when Stafford and friends are trying to reach the Super Bowl.
Higbee is still a capable starting tight end in his own right
So long as Higbee stays healthy and doesn’t forget how to catch the ball, the world won’t end if the Rams don’t acquire Engram. That’s all the assurance Stafford needs right now.
Higbee hauled in 27 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ first seven games. With the 17-game season, that’s a 66-catch, 602-yard campaign in his first year with a new quarterback. And, of course, he’s putting up those numbers as the third or fourth weapon in the Rams’ passing game.
Higbee is under contract through the end of the 2023 season, so the Rams aren’t exactly in a rush to replace him. If the Rams did acquire Engram, they’d likely lose him to a team wanting to sign him and make him their starter in 2022 as opposed to a rotational weapon.
Then again, the goal is a Super Bowl ring. If Engram can bring that dream to fruition, something tells us the Rams will be willing to part ways with a draft pick or two.